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Milwaukee homicides up 114% when compared with May 2019

Posted at 7:25 PM, May 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-19 22:33:00-04

MILWAUKEE — Data shows that homicides have more than doubled in Milwaukee when compared with this time time last year. Several of them are connected to domestic-related incidents, police said.

Milwaukee police have investigated 60 homicides thus far in 2020. At this time last year, the city was facing 28 homicides, which translates to an increase of 114 percent.

Chief Alfonso Morales refered to the numbers as tragic.

“It hurts. You don’t have to know the victim to understand what transpired and how we always feel we could have done something more,” said Morales.

Morales said that three factors are driving the numbers: mental health, drugs and domestic-related situations. The latter is resulting in a third of the deaths.

President and CEO of the Sojourner Family Peace Center Carmen Pitre said they started to see a rise in domestic homicides last fall that hasn’t stopped. However, she said what’s different this year are the crimes involving multiple victims and families.

“We’ve had in essence this year, two homicides that have claimed the lives of eight people in just a matter of months,” Pitre said.

Pitre said the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t helping the problem.

“Survivors have reported that abusers are more volatile,” Pitre said. “That would lend me to believe that the stress of COVID is making people who have used violence as a strategy more likely to use it.”

This leaves her concerned for the future.

“Will we see more homicides? I hope we don’t,” Pitre said. “I think we may.”

To try and curb the issue, Sojourner will get back to doing home visits on high risk cases with the police the week of May 25.

Morales said in June the Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission will be implementing a plan to specifically deal with domestic violence.

“We’ve had our challenges. I do hope and I am happy that there are other organizations coming together to help because this is truly going to be an all-team effort,” Morales said.

The homicide data reveals some other startling numbers.

Morales said of the 60 homicides to date this year, seven of them were children 17 and under. This time last year there had only been one.

When it comes to homicides of women, so far there have been 14 in 2020. This is nearly triple the number at this time last year when there had only been five.

Help is available in Milwaukee County for domestic abuse scenarios. If you or someone you know is in a dangerous situation, call the Sojourner Family Peace Center at (414) 933-2722. You can also call 211 or find information on a variety of other local resources and shelters here.

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